A volunteer group dedicated to protecting six insect species across some of Scotland’s tallest peaks has been praised by a national organisation.
Members of the Rare Invertebrates in the Cairngorms (RIC) project carry out surveys across the region to identify the creatures, then work with landowners to help the colonies thrive.
Their work covers the Kentish glory and dark bordered beauty butterflies, the northern silver-stiletto fly and pine hoverfly. They also protect the small scabious mining bee and shining guest ant populations.
It is supported by a range of causes including RSPB Scotland, the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA), Buglife, Butterfly Conservation and Scottish Natural Heritage.
RIC has now been presented with a UK National Parks Volunteer Award in recognition of its “dedicated and passionate” workforce.
Project officer Gabrielle Flinn said: “We are delighted and grateful to have our efforts recognised by this award and our nominators.
“We really appreciate the support and hope to continue to inspire people across the national park to stand up for nature at a time when it has never been more crucial.”
Mike Woolvin, volunteer co-ordinator at the CNPA, said: “Volunteers make a really significant difference to conserving and enhancing the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the area among many other things.
“It is wonderful to see the RIC project recognised in this way after all the time, energy and enthusiasm shared by the volunteers.”